I was a faithful member for three decades. I was raised in a good LDS home. served a faithful mission in Brazil, got married in the temple and always worthily held a temple recommend. I was a gospel doctrine teacher, teachers' advisor, elder's quorum counselor, branch president, etc. Active my whole life. I'd followed the rules, I believed it and I meant it with all my heart.
When in my early 30s I began to wonder about the nature of suffering and the role of prayer. Suffering seems to abound in an intensity, frequency and distribution which did not align with the idea of a compassionate, loving deity. Why would god help me drive safely in a snowstorm, but not help a terrified mother while her children are murdered in front of her before she is gang raped, like many women are in Africa? A local story in the news was of a child that was raped and buried alive. A tsunami in Indonesia killed 250,000 people.
Nature is clearly indifferent to suffering. Was god indifferent, too?
Those horrific events left me to question the existence of god. I understood basics of geology, astronomy and physics to a degree which left the possibility of naturally occurring universe without the need of a creator. I prayed. I went to the temple and prayed. I prayed in the car, I prayed at my bedside. I prayed for years feeling that after 30 years of compliance I had demonstrated my willingness to obey the truth. I prayed with all the faith I could muster, with a sincere desire to believe and follow, knowing I had excercized my faith first.
Having a son of my own I understood that a loving father would not ignore a child's sincere requests. A loving father would at least tell a son that his question was heard, even if the son wasn't ready for the answer.
No answer came. Why? I had committed no major sins. Never smoked, never touched drugs or alcohol. I read scriptures and prayed and served. I felt worthy of my temple recommend. I had as much faith as I knew how to have.
I was bothered that it was so hard to tell the difference between "the spirit" and my own thoughts.
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